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Everything posted by gknl

  1. gknl

    Brussels Sprouts

    Try cutting out the core at the stem end and separating the leaves, then quickly saute them in butter or olive oil until they're wilted.
  2. When I went to Copia last fall, one of the exhibits was a history of Popiel products. And their fancy dining room is named for Julia. So you don't have to feel guilty. If they can do it, so can you.
  3. It's all there is, really. There are some shows on Style, and a couple of other cable channels (House and Garden, Fine Living, Discovery Living), and PBS on Saturdays here in the SF Bay Area, too, but nothing consistent. Maybe it'll be like MTV and they'll come up with a FTV 2 for "serious" shows.
  4. gknl


    What do you mean by that? lay a fish filet on the cutting board and salt it. come back 10 minutes later and it will have sweated. obviously, dunking pork in a brine overnight will have a different end result but the salt will still have an effect on how the meat cooks. i'm not saying so with a negative connotation either. But surface salt and brine solutions produce two different results. Brining increases the moisture content of meat. Wouldn't this have something to do with osmosis? If there's more junk dissolved in the brining solution than in the water in the meat, wont the water flow out of the meat to achieve an equilibrium? Kind of like water flowing out of your skin when you sit in the bath and start to pucker? I assumed that was why the brining water turns pinkish -- it's the blood in the water leaching out of the meat into the brine. I think brining intensifies flavor similar to sun-dried tomatoes -- by leaching out the water and leaving the flavor behind. But that's a wild guess. Actually, believe it or not, your fingers getting all pruney is due to the skin absorbing water, not losing it. According to Wolke's What Einstein Told His Cook (pp 143-145), there are two processes involved with brining. One is osmosis where water travels into the cell from the brine (cells don't contain much water compared to the brine), making the meat jucier. The other is diffusion; cells don't contain much dissolved salt either, so salt ions travel inside the cells too, making the meat more flavorful. Once inside, the salt changes the protein so that it can hold more water and proteins holding water tend to be softer (more tender). Thus brined meat is jucier, more tender, and saltier (more flavorful). Osmosis works with water pressure; diffusion with salt concentration. Two separate things.
  5. gknl


    Sounds like time for a double-blind controlled experiment. Can we do it at your place?
  6. gknl

    Dinner! 2003

    Pasta with preserved tuna, pine nuts, capers, and preserved lemon from Judy Rodger's Zuni Cafe Cookbook. I had preserved tuna left over from the market basket challenge, so I made this. Toast pine nuts, add the tuna (which was preserved by gently heating it in olive oil with lemon zest, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper) with some of the oil, stir to combine, add the capers and preserved lemon (both minced fine), then add the cooked pasta. Easy one pot meal and very luxurious. The book says you can substitute canned tuna, just infuse the preserved tuna flavorings into some olive oil, then add the tuna and proceed as above. The recipe also called for fennel seeds, but I didn't have any so I left them out. Didn't miss them this time.
  7. I think you're oversimplifying the problem. Yes, of course you want to accommodate the tastes of the people you're cooking for. But mistreating a high quality and expensive ingredient is a difficult thing to do, and I think Dave has a valid point of view. Let's up the ante a little. If you'd bought, say, a couple of Wagu rib eye steaks, and your guest asked to you bread hers and fry it, then top it with cream of mushroom soup and simmer it for 45 minutes or so, could you honestly say you'd do that? If not, why not? Just something to think about. It's just food. You're not eating that portion anyway. If that person refused to eat it and threw it away, that's one thing, but if they ate it and enjoyed it, why do they have to eat it like you do for their enjoyment to be valid? I wouldn't be able to cook the steak in that manner because I don't keep cream of mushroom soup in the house. Nice try at a straw man though. Even if I had it, I probably wouldn't be too excited about cooking two separate dishes. But I would definitely cook the steak to her preferred doneness regardless of how I think it should be eaten. It's going in her mouth, not mine. Let me ask you this, since we're playing rhetorical games: how little do you have to spend on something before you feel as though you can let someone else eat it way he or she prefers? What's the monetary cut off and why? I can't believe respecting someone else's taste is oversimplifying.
  8. I posted this is the other thread too, but what the heck. In Chez Panisse Fruit they say to cut in half the butter first, then add the other half and cut that in. That way you end up with a mix of small and large pieces. They also recommend lifting the flour-butter mixture up in your hand and letting it sift through your fingers to mix as you add the water. It's worked wonders for me, I used to have consistency issues . They say that Jacques Pepin taught them that when he was there visiting. He says to cut in 1/3 first, then 2/3 though.
  9. Did she eat the tuna? Did she enjoy the tuna? If yes, she did, then what difference does it make that you don't like it the same way? The whole point is buying something that's enjoyable. So how is it wasted or ruined if they enjoyed eating it? I could see your point if you cooked it the way she wanted it and then she didn't eat it because it was dry or whatever. I'm assuming she did enjoy it because she's asking you why you don't make it anymore. Is it that hard to put her piece on first so that you both can eat it the way you prefer it?
  10. One of my students is from New Foundland, so I emailed him the first list of things and he said he was trying to track them down. He also said that "Newfie" is considered to be derogatory, a slur, depending on the inflection. He said "Newf" was better. FWIW.
  11. stainless steel works, rub your hands on something stainless steel, I use my sink pan or the knife (carefully!) while running cold water. This works for onion, garlic, and fish too. Won't get it all, but it gets a lot.
  12. gknl

    Chez Panisse

    In the introduction to the Chez Panisse Vegetables book, Waters recounts a trip to NYC where they were to cook as part of some charity benefit thing. They loaded up their suitcases with the "freshest organic produce" and at the dinner prepared a simple salad. A well-known NY chef whom they don't identify looked at what they did and said (jokingly) "that's not cooking, that's shopping." Oh well, I thought it was funny. And don't let anyone get to you! It's their problem, not yours. If you absolutely hate the food, it'll still be worth it because then you'll have a great story to tell and will get tons of foodie cred points for hating an icon. Someday I'll eat at both CP and FL. Oh yes, I shall.
  13. gknl

    Chez Panisse

    If you read the menu and it excited you, then I think you'll be fine. And if you're an inexperienced wine drinker, then you'll probably be happier than someone with 50 years of experience who has their own idea of what goes with what. And remember, it's just food. From what I get is that people either were expecting more or expecting different than what the restaurant does these days and were disappointed. Relax and enjoy your night out! And report back to us, please.
  14. gknl

    It's Sunday

    Peete's French roast coffee. I shouldn't read egullet on an empty stomach.
  15. It was something called a Flaming Orange Gully .... with extra Glenlivet and Slivivitz. Was that a mistake ? No way! You had more fun than I did.
  16. I am sujre this paragraph was created by computer It seems to consist of four entirely unconnected sentences, each of which is about as non sequiturious to the previous one as could be imagined Jinnysan, please disclose what you were drinking when you wrote this --- I want some of it It made perfect sense to me. What were you drinking when you read it?
  17. gknl

    Dinner! 2003

    Udon in miso broth with tofu, broccolini, carrot, mushroom, and green onion. Don't yell at me, but the miso was instant (yeah, yeah, like regular miso isn't instant because you just spoon it out of the tub, but I really am that lazy ) I bought at Costco. I wish I could tell you the brand name, but there's no English except for the instructions and nutritional information. There are two packets; one with the miso paste and the other with dried seaweed, tofu, green onion, and seasoning. Not bad for just boiling water.
  18. Nice work! This book's been nagging at me for a while, but after reading this, I don't feel compelled to get it now. Not because it's a bad book, it's still on the lust list, but just that it's not really what I'm interested in at this point. You did a great job of talking about the book without simply saying "it's great" or "it sucks" as too many reviews do. It wasn't a dry, simple summary of the contents either. You struck that balance between your personal taste and the book itself which too many food writers can't seem to do. You were definitely part of the review, but it wasn't about you, it was about the book. I think some professional writers could take lessons.
  19. Which ingredients couldn't you get? And where are you, generally speaking? I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, but spend some time each year in NW Alabama where I try to cook at least one new thing per visit. The first few times I was frustrated at not being able to find stuff I take for granted out here. Now that I know what I'm up against, it's a challenge. Substitutions are pretty liberal. I don't think anyone would think less of you if you just posted a menu, but for me, half the "fun" was seeing if I could actually pull it off. And I was glad to read I wasn't the only one who trashed the kitchen in the process. The other half of the fun was being, as Mamster put it, "at the mercy of someone else's ingredients," having to deal with stuff you wouldn't ordinarily consider. It's not a competition, though I'm sure we all didn't want to screw up and humiliate ourselves , so I think it's the spirit of the challenge that counts most. Besides, if you're satisfied with just creating menus, then ingredient availability doesn't matter (not meant in a snarky way).
  20. gknl

    Kielabasa Diary

    I peeled a whole bunch of garlice about a month ago, and they've been sitting in my fridge under some vegetable oil. Should I toss them? Perhaps you should. Botulism makes those clippie things look pretty tame. Since garlic is relatively cheap, I'd probably toss it too. But if you cook the garlic and oil, the toxins are destroyed. It's using it raw that usually causes the problems. http://www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual/section3...apter28/28d.htm C. botulinum spores are highly heat-resistant and may survive boiling for several hours at 100° C (212° F); however, exposure to moist heat at 120° C (248° F) for 30 min will kill the spores. Toxins, on the other hand, are readily destroyed by heat, and cooking food at 80° C (176° F) for 30 min safeguards against botulism. Toxin production (especially type E) can occur at temperatures as low as 3° C (37.4° F), ie, inside a refrigerator, and does not require strict anaerobic conditions.
  21. gknl


    I just tried Brown Cow and it's better than the stuff I used to get (Mountain something or other). The BC is tangy, but still has a recognizable milky taste. The texture is better too. I finally read the ingredients on the old stuff and saw additives. I want to try the Strauss family yogurt next. They're a local organic dairy producer.
  22. I probably wouldn't do it every month either, but if people wanted to do it more often, I wouldn't feel slighted if I missed a particular month. Eight people did it this time, do you think more people will join in as it progresses? Once they read our great menus, they won't be able to resist! I like the idea of doing different themes too, much like in the Master Chef Exam where they have to cook an Asian meal from a country assigned at random. Did you see the FoodTv show on the exam? It was cool seeing it after reading the Ruhlman book. . . . Though watching the guys fail was painful. I'll do an ingredients list, but still have the question of formality. I think trying to come up with a list of ingredients that are challenging without being too difficult or obscure would be almost as fun as the cooking. But no foie gras, caviar or truffles on my list. I don't want to be presumptuous or step on anyone else's involvement, but I'm not adverse to doing it on an ad hoc basis either.
  23. Is there any particular way you (the collective you) want to deal with this? I agree it would be interesting to have different people come up with the ingredients, but is there an etiquette we should adhere to? Both in terms of the type of ingredients but also the posting so we don't end up with competing baskets? And how often to do it? Once a month? Every two weeks? Sorry to be so official about this. . . .
  24. I don't know if lentils ever really rock but my dish was pretty good. I don't cook lentils very often. I don't dislike them, but don't particularly like either. Anyway, I got the basic recipe from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers. She says "the stingy-with-the-liquid method, which will remind you of risotto making, keeps the flavors concentrated." She says to use the green French or the black Beluga lentils too, but Albertson's only had the plain brown ones which cooked up fine without getting mushy. I used homemade chicken stock and cabernet sauvignon wine (it was open in the refrigerator) and the flavor was rich and deep. The bacon was my improvement. Putting the sauteed mushrooms on top helped the final dish too, so I'd recommend taking the extra step. Plus you can add the liquid the mushrooms give off to the lentils. I got the idea for that combination from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey. The basic cooking technique is to add the wine and half the stock at the beginning, then stir the lentils, adding the rest of the liquid as necessary to keep the lentils covered and stirring until the lentils are cooked through. I really think that was the key to the dish. The lentils absorbed all the flavor from the stock, wine and mirepoix without getting mushy. I'm sure you can alter the liquids and flavors to suit your taste. ediot: damn tags ediot II: should I have put this in the lentils rock thread?
  25. I had to use the brown ones too. They soaked up the 3 1/2 cups of liquid so I added the juice from the sauteed mushrooms and a splash of water to loosen them up at the end. I thought they'd end up "soupier" but they were still firm and had a really rich, intense taste. Maybe it's the way they absorb liquids?
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